review · sewing

{ SIMPLICITY } Star Sewist Blogger Challenge

On a total whim, I decided to take part in the Simplicity Star Sewist Challenge because lets face it, who wouldn’t like to win a years supply of patterns amiright ?!? So I chose to go with the dressmaking pattern, New Look 6145, because I like dresses & I knew dressing my baby bump would be easier adjusting this pattern to maternity rather than the other two patterns on offer. NL615_side3 Out came a beautiful piece of navy linen which I accented with some navy & white Shweshwe fabric I purchased while on holiday at home in January. The two pair really well I think. I sized up in general to allow for my pregnancy measurements as well as a little extra for ease. At first I was just going to use the shweshwe for the sleeves & inner facing but then decided rather than make my side seam godet inserts in linen, to make these in shweshwe too. I wasnt entirely sold on the contrast so I cut one of each, basted them both in & decided almost instantly on going with the shweshwe contrast as soon as I saw the dress semi-fitted. In all honesty, the inserts dont work 100% because I didnt trim off the angle required on the side seams. I left them as they should be because I really want to remove the shweshwe panels once Im able to wear the dress post-pregnancy. The inserts really just give me the added space for the baby bump & ass. NL6145_side Overall, it was an easy sew & I { ADORE } the pleated sleeves…but then again, Im gaga over pleated anything! NL6145_front Thank you to Simplicity for offering the challenge & for the free pattern. I’ll certainly be making more of these shift dresses in the future. Also, good luck to all the sewcialists that have entered the competition. Cant wait to see who wins.

This will probably be my last sew for myself until after baby arrives. Im finding the bump so hard to gauge on size since Im in the final weeks & this Noodle is growing like crazy. Ive also hit the exhausted & rather uncomfortable stage so sitting for hours in front of my sewing machine is proving a little challenging. Ive gained 10kgs until now & Im feeling every.single.gram I tell ya. Ive had a relatively uneventful pregnancy to be honest with very few issues but these final few weeks things have definitely amped up. Dont get me wrong, Im loving being preggy & I couldn’t be more grateful for what is about to change our lives forever but this third trimester is tough on your body & your mind. Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed my little me-made. Till soon. Ange x

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pattern review · sewing

{ NEW LOOK 6248 } The quick linen skirt…

It was the weekend before the Monday we were leaving to go on holiday….so what did I do….well, I whipped up a last minute skirt for the holidays didnt I?!? Dont you?

Good thing this tried ‘n tested pattern is a breeze.

Might I also add this was { LAST } year Summer. Whoops!NL6248

I used some of the 100% white linen I had left over from the shirt-dress. Love the fabric. It may crease like no-ones business but its crispness is such a pleasure in the heat.

I made view E without the ruffles, which admittedly woulda looked really cool but I didnt have the time to ruffle about in honesty. 8 panels sewn together, each seam topstitched with a 4,5 length on my Sapphy, in go the facings & the zip, hem & she’s done.

Easy as that. N6248

Just thought Id share if any of you are considering this little skirt for the coming summer.

Till soon my dears xx

PS – Ive paired the skirt above with the BurdaStyle wrap top I made yonks ago incase you interested in that pattern.

pattern review · sewing

{ COLETTE } Purple Peony…

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS !!!

I told you a few posts back that I had made the Colette Peony some time ago – so here are the deets. Thanks for your patience.

Inspiration was not hard to come by. Just google “Colette Peony” & a flurry of pretty Peonies start to load your screen. Abbey from Sew Charleston made the most beautiful floral Peony in 2013. I mean honestly….{ BA BOING } !!! & this perfect polka Peony made by Amy, just gorgeous.

Being a newbie to Colette patterns I decided to err on the side of caution & investigate every possible person that had anything to say about her patterns, good or bad. What I discovered quite quickly was many of you talking about how difficult Ms Peony was to fit!!! { EEEECK }. I instantly panicked. I haven’t told you guys what a hard time Ive had with fitting the BHL Anna have I?? Oooh, can I rant quick??.. Anna has probably been the biggest nightmare Ive ever had in my journey of sewing. Now I know many of you will disagree saying how fucking easy she is to make & just so you know, it irks me when I see how some of you have sewed multiples of Anna in various fabrics (yes, Im looking at you Ms Oona) but come hell or high water, I just cant get that biaatch to fit me! Ive muslined her bodice too many times to even count & while she appears to be the easiest bodice, believe me, my bewbs disagree! Strongly. Rant over (rolling eyes)…until another day!

So approaching the Peony with possible similar problems was not an experience I particularly wanted for myself. Regret management is evil evil shit so instead of cutting into that tissue, I decided to adopt the tracing way of life like a grown up. I traced a size bigger than the finished measurement suggested & then got to making a muslin of the bodice. The first muslin was too big so I retraced in a size smaller & re-muslined.

Perfect fit…. Well kinda.

Honestly.

I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasnt dreaming.

So I proceeded to cutting  & she was stitched up rather quickly. colette_peony_front1

I left out the pockets of course. Coz really. I always do. And even when I do have a brain wave & think pockets might be a change from the norm…I end up taking them out anyway. You’ll notice I also left off the sleeves which may not have been the best decision since I do think the sleeves would stretch out the neckline & keep it from gaping in front which it does at the moment…ever so slightly.

And because I left off the sleeves, I needed to finish the edges here & without facings I decided to improvise with bias tape. Now you’ll know why I remembered the dyeing trick. I had no purple bias tape so out came the dye. { ABRACADABRA } white became purple bias tape in a matter of minutes! Your’e welcome. Purples dont match 100% but its good enough no?! I sewed the bias tape in by hand to avoid any machine stitching on the end & although it took some time, it was well worth the effort. biased_edges

I played with the idea of finishing the hem with a spanish stitch but ultimately, I decided to keep her plain. Of course as ‘ol murphy would have it, now that she’s all finished I think the spanish stitch might have been the better way to go! { DOH }. So I may go back & do that. Also, if the gaping neckline continues to irritate me, I may just pull out the bias tape I lovingly matched & insert sleeves too.colette_peony_front2

I used an invisible zip for the back which was a bit of a pain to sew for some reason. I think it had to do with the fact that I couldnt find an exact match to the fabric. On the hanger you cant see the zip, on the body there are parts that show unfortunately. Only after did I think why on earth didnt I bomb the zip in with the purple dye?? { WHY OH WHY }

My favourite details of the dress are the pretty little gathers at the front waist. Love those. They hide all kinds of crazy.  The fabric is 100% linen I found for €8/m which in my neck of the woods is a bloody bargain so naturally I purchased more than I needed because thats what one does when they find a bargain….in a colour that suits them! ( Or is that just me).

Im happy with Ms Peony but there are some issues that need sorting as mentioned. But overall, she’s comfortable and I definitely know that she fits well.

I like her, I like her alot.

Hope you’ve all had a good start to the New Year. All the best for 2015.

xxAnge

 

 

 

chit-chat · sewing

{ ON THE CUTTING TABLE } & other news…

Hello friends –

London was great. Busy but good. I wish we had planned in Friday as well just to do our own thing but sadly ….next time huh. On Thursday I decided to clear my schedule for 2 hours while I jumped the tube & headed off to Goldhawk Road for a quick fabric shop.

I found some gems to be honest – absolutely not what I was expecting because I feel like when I shop under pressure I can never really enjoy it & end up leaving frustrated. Do you have that too? Anyway, it was weird to see all these fabrics popping out at me even though I was { VERY } aware of being on the clock. Here are the fabrics I took home with me :fabric_shop

{ left to right }

// multi-coloured (but mostly pink) irish linen which is heavy & beautiful quality.

// great floral cotton – so crisp but so soft too

// a viscose blend but the colours & pattern are rad

// an olive-ish green poly

// a black cotton with cut-outs – very cool. i only got a metre of this because i only intend on making a sleeveless top but thinking now, i really should have got more for a dress.

// a black & white cotton with the most adorable paris print

I picked these up from a variety of stores along goldhawk road. Every store I went into, the staff were super friendly and eager to assist. Where I felt fabric was a little overpriced for what it was, I said so & the sales staff had no problem negotiating.  Looking forward to visiting again – perhaps with more time on the clock!

Before leaving for London, I took advantage of the McCall Company sale & ordered a whole stack of new patterns so I was excited to see them sticking out my mailbox when I arrived home. There is { NOTHING } better than arriving home to sewing bits ‘n bobs – Im sure you know the feeling 🙂 Anyway, new patterns means I have to find an afternoon to sit & cut them all out. I really dont like having to cut patterns out before I start sewing so I like to get that done asap.  Cutting 7 patterns literally took all afternoon. Some of those suckers were huge! This is the recycle pile : pattern_cutting

And new to my sewing room is a drawer unit to help with storage of my threads and smalls, stationery & general crap. I was quite keen to use one of those thread holders to display them but then I started looking at how much thread I have and quickly realised my thread holder would have to be one giant coz I got lots…so I ditched the idea & used the drawers instead which doesnt look too bad. Whatcha think ? threads_drawer

The sewing room has been taking shape over the past couple of months & its almost { ALMOST } finished. As soon as I think its photo worthy, I’ll give you a peek inside ok?!

Ive also finally decided to make something of the yellow silk I purchased  a few months back. Silk has been pre-washed, pressed & ready for cutting 🙂  Coming soon…silk

Ive also got 3 or 4 pieces that have been finished for some time but Ive been wearing them to death so I really do need to photograph them to show you. Ive made a linen skirt with an offcut from the white linen I used to make the shirt dress plus I recycled one of the hubsters shirts to make another Datura which Im so in love with…so those should be popping up here real soon.

I know its only Thursday but have a good weekend 🙂 x Ange

pattern review · sewing

{ KWIK SEW 3488 } The Shirt-dress…

i’ve been wanting to make  forevs…

I had seen an image in a magazine yonks ago & thought the idea of creating a focus down the middle using contrasting buttons quite genius. After settling on the Kwiksew 3488 pattern, I found a lovely weight 100% white linen at my local fabric store for €6/m & knew it was a match made in heaven. KwikSew3488_front01

This was the first Kwiksew pattern Ive used & I have to be honest & give credit where credit is due. First of all, I love that its printed onto heavier weight paper than the tissue most pattern companies use. It just makes more sense because Im not the sewer that traces…I cut that darn pattern & I use it. The only time I trace is when I notice the pattern battling after multiple abuse….& of course those dreaded BurdaStyle traces. I also love that the paper is { WHITE }. Probably because the writing is easier to see…I dont know, I just prefer it to the brown tissue. Also, most of the writing is in dark blue but the really important text like “PLACE ON FOLD” or cut 1 “ON FOLD” is in red as well as the pattern piece numbers. Sure, these are small details but I dig small details!!! The thing I love most though are the colour coded size lines. XS is in light mauve, S is in light red/pink, M is in light blue & so on. { GENIUS }. It makes following your size so much easier. Again, small deets but you know…

**edit** after publishing this post yesterday Ive had a few ladies mention that since KS was taken over by the McCalls group, the patterns are now printed onto the same brown tissue as the Vogue, Butterick, McCalls etc. This is rather disappointing to hear obviously however Im also quite surprised this is the case because I purchased this pattern from the US recently – directly from McCalls. It could be it was old stock & thats why the pattern was still on the thicker paper?!? Just wanted to clarify incase anyone goes out to buy their patterns based on my review only to find tissue!

The instruction sheet is also printed onto white paper rather than the drab brown but hey ho, whatevs floats your boat. Where some other brands show little diagrams of which side the pattern piece should be laid for cutting ie. right side up etc, these instructions you do have to read..no diagrams. I prefer the diagrams for quick reference but the text is also fine so I highlighted it for quick reference next time. The actual sewing instructions were also really good. This wasn’t a difficult project & I couldnt find any reference to what level of sewer would find this suitable but I would say an advanced beginner with experience sewing buttonholes & topstitching could take this on without a problem. KwikSew3488_front02 KS3488_back

The body measurements listed on the back of the envelope indicated I should sew the L but once I saw the finished garment measurements on the actual pattern piece, I went for the M & Im glad I did.  There is a certain amount of ease allowed for but ease is such a controversial subject. Some people like lots of ease, some like very little. I think it also depends on the style of garment & your body shape really.

Because this was my first Kwiksew pattern, I decided to leave the topstitching until as late as possible. I needed to fit it & I certainly didnt want to have to unpick masses of double topstitch…because almost every seam calls for double topstitch but you can leave those off if you like too – its ups to yous. Most of the seams I topstiched with a twin needle giving it a really nice finish. After sewing so much silk & jersey recently, the linen was a darn dream. I sewed the shorter version, with short sleeves & no pocket flaps. KS3488_stitching_detail

Next big decision – the { BUTTONS }…I had black buttons in mind because I wanted to create that focus but then I found bronze ones…the mind boggled! I took to Instagram for help & some of you voted black, some of you voted bronze – so thanks for that!!! I eventually found these lovely black domed buttons with silver splatter on them. I liked the shape & feel so I went with those. You might also notice I placed my buttons at closer intervals than the pattern suggested which meant almost double the amount of buttonholes. Luckily my Sapphy has the one-step buttonhole feature so sewing those were easy as pie. Once the buttons were stitched on, I blind hemmed & she was done.I wonder if the buttons prevent it from looking too doctor-ish though….because it feels a little doctor-ish. What do you think ?? KS3488_buttons

The dress is really comfortable, belted or not…& in linen perfect for the hot weather we’re having & Im hoping the linen will keep softening with every wash too. Im lucky enough to work from home so this kind of dress fits my lifestyle incredibly well. I just have to slip on a pair of cute flats or my over-worn nude espadrilles & Im ready to go should I need too.KwikSew3488_front04

Im definitely sewing her again, perhaps with 3/4 sleeves in a lightweight denim & red topstitch or chambray….or even with cap-sleeves??!!?

Have a good weekend & till next time,

A x

pattern review · sewing

{ EASY LIVING } Kimono…

This project has actually been finished for quite some time. Life happens & that means some things have to take a back seat but Im cool with that. Are you?

Browsing one of my favourite websites I came across this fabric that looked delicious enough to eat. It was listed as “Ramie” & since I had no idea what it was, I decided the surest way to find out was to just order a piece.  Wiki doesnt make it sound too appetizing but dont listen to Wiki coz in fabric form, its delish. Its got the texture of linen but it feels like cotton – what more could you possibly ask for when you have summer on your mind?! Now I do wish I had ordered more than the a mere metre… Style2254_side

Style2254_side02

I had wanted to whip me up a Kimono-style somethin’ for some time. I settled on an old Style pattern (#2254) and used the robe as a place to start. If you’re interested in checking this pattern out, there is one available on Etsy for the moment. BTW, does anyone know if Style Patterns Ltd still exists ? Or what happened to them ? I remember them having some really awesome patterns..

Anyway, I shortened the length overall as well as the sleeves & instead of attaching lace trims, I used the extra unwanted length to add nice broad hems. Also, because I didnt sew in the lace trim, where the shoulder meets the back neck, I simply folded over the facing & stitched it down. Style2254_facing

There is nothing to say about the sew because its dirt easy…novice easy. Kimono_Style2254

Till next time – Ange x

{ feeling (& looking) particularly fragile today after the rolling stones concert in vienna last night. it was so good i could quite possibly die feeling rather musically satisfied today. if you ever get the chance to see those blokes live, take it. i promise you would not be disappointed }